I had the opportunity to ask the creators of the immensely popular Tauntaun Sleeping Bag some questions about its creation, what it’s like at the ThinkGeek headquarters, and more. Here’s what they had to say!
Celeste Monsour: Where did the idea for the Tauntaun Sleeping Bag come from?
ThinkGeek: Caffeine. Really, it was one of those completely inspirational ideas that just popped into existence. Once the idea hit, we knew we had to try and do it. More details (like the lightsaber zipper pull) just naturally fell into place.
What was the process for bringing the idea to reality?
We tried to get the attention of Lucasfilm to make the bag but the process was going nowhere, so we decided to turn it into an April Fool’s joke. The response was so strong. We had people that worked for Lucasfilm saying, “If you want to make this, we’ll help you.” We had customers calling Lucasfilm saying they wanted to buy it. The gag completely changed the equation.
Who were the people involved, and what else have they created?
The Tauntaun Sleeping Bag was a big project. A lot of people were involved in the creation. Primarily though, it was the core ThinkGeek Labs team: Ty Liotta, Christian Baldo, and Hans Fex. Together, they’ve created some of our most successful products, including our line of interactive shirts (Electronic Rock Guitar Shirt, Wi-Fi Detector Shirt) and the Bliptronic 5000 Retro Synth.
What’s the atmosphere like at ThinkGeek Labs?
Collaborative is probably the best word. We all work together to come up with great ideas and then hone them into great product ideas. Certainly, this sort of creative process would be difficult to do in isolation.
How far in advance do you start planning the April Fool’s Day faux products?
The length of time is variable, but it’s fair to say that we start generating new ideas on April 2nd. It’s a pressure cooker of sorts. New ideas come in, push out the old. It sounds fun (and it is) but it’s also a challenge because there are a lot of really creative people trying to one-up each other.
What’s the reception been like from fans and customers?
Incredible. As it says on thinkgeek.com, we’ve sold through the first two shipments but more are coming. Customer action shots are coming in too. People love the Tauntaun.
Can you confirm that George Lucas does, in fact, sleep in the Tauntaun Sleeping Bag every night?
We think the question of whether or not George Lucas sleeps in the Tauntaun is one of the great mysteries of the universe, just like “does Wilford Brimley really eat Quaker Oats?”
Besides Star Wars, what are the ThinkGeek team fans of?
Nearly every aspect of Geekdom is represented at ThinkGeek. We have camps dedicated to just about every television show and movie you can imagine. Big time Star Trek geeks, Serenity, Aliens. Shows like Big Bang Theory, House, and MythBusters. Video games are a major interest, from classic 8-bit all the way up through the latest FPS. We also have a weekly D&D night at the ThinkGeek MegaPlex. We could go on and on. No foolin’, we’re the real geek deal.